For Immediate Release:  August 21, 2019
Contact:  Susan Strano, Marketing Director
Deana Mallory, Co-Acting Director, Programs
802-447-1571
sstrano@benningtonmuseum.org
dmallory@benningtonmuseum.org

Image:
Paij Wadley-Bailey, July 13, 2016
Courtesy of the Root Social Justice Center

Visible in Vermont: Our Stories, Our Voices

Opening on September 14 in the Works on Paper Gallery of Bennington Museum is a multi-generational photo and story exhibition highlighting the experiences of people of color living and/or going to school in Vermont. The project is a platform for People of Color (POC) to tell their own stories and convey the impact of racism on their lives.  The images highlight the intersectionality of communities of color and their many stories. The quotes in the pictures are either terms that have been conveyed to the individual since living in Vermont, or are responses to terms, questions or statements made towards the person that undermine them as a people.  “The photos in the  Visible in Vermont: Our Stories, Our Voices aim to help viewers develop a relationship with people of color in their communities.” Sha’an Mouliert co-coordinator of the project and exhibition said.  Visible in Vermont: Our Stories, Our Voices is on view through December 30.

Program History and Vision

The I Am Vermont Too project was introduced in 2014 by Shanta Lee Evans-Crowley and Shela Linton after the  “I, Too, Am Harvard” initiative that was designed around people of color sharing their experiences of racism and racial microaggressions at Harvard University.  “I Am Vermont Too” photos and stories focus on the experiences of people of color throughout Vermont, challenging similar aggressions, racist acts, and behaviors that often go unchecked. This project is an opportunity for dialogue and reflection for people within communities that are majority white, who are unaware of the impact that their racial microaggressions have on their community. These assaults have a significant impact on one’s sense of self and place in a community.

Project Description

Grace Lee Boggs, a prominent POC American author, social activist, and feminist, said that “Creativity is the key to human liberation.” By providing a medium for human expression, art liberates people and validates the joys, challenges and struggles of their everyday experience,  allowing them to expand into their fullest potential.   Visible in Vermont:  Our Stories Our Voices uses art as a medium to envision social change. The use of artistic and creative expression and the upholding of POC artists and voices, cultivates a forum in which people can connect over their experiences, living and working in Vermont.

 Organization History and Mission

The Root Social Justice Center, founded in 2013 by four organizers, provides accessible organizing space for social justice groups and serves as a local resource for social justice education, community, and actions. Sha’an Mouliert from St. Johnsbury, co-coordinator of the project, also serves on the advisory board of the Root.  Vermont is the second whitest state in the nation. Structural racism and widespread racial bias continue to exclude people of color (POC) from cultural, economic and social spheres. In 2016/17, to answer the call of working to end racial injustices in this state, The Root became a racial justice organizing collective focused on building leadership and power for POCs in Vermont.  In its most recent round of grants, Vermont Humanities supported the Root Social Justice Center of Brattleboro for  Visible in Vermont: Our Stories Our Voices.

Related Events:  Saturday, September 28 during Free Community Day at Bennington Museum, join us from 10:00 – 11:30 am for a reception and panel discussion for Visible in Vermont: Our Stories, Our Voices.  View the exhibit from 10:00 – 10:30, then proceed to the Ada Paresky Education Center for light refreshment and a panel discussion, facilitated by Sha’an Mouliert and featuring some of the participants whose work is in the exhibition.

Later that day, from 2:00 – 4:00 pm, Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity presents Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future. Participants discuss building inclusive and equitable communities. Teaching awareness of Vermont’s economic, education, health, and social welfare sheds light on underrepresented residents and the challenges that communities face when attempting to advocate for all. Appropriate for high school and adult audiences.

About the Museum
Bennington Museum is located at 75 Main Street (Route 9), Bennington, in The Shires of Vermont.  The Museum is open daily, 10 am to 5 pm June through October.  It is wheelchair accessible.   Regular admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students over 18.  Admission is never charged for younger students, museum members, or to visit the museum shop.  Visit the museum’s website www.benningtonmuseum.org or call 802-447-1571 for more information.

Bennington Museum is a member of ArtCountry, a consortium of notable art and performance destinations in the scenic northern Berkshires of Massachusetts and southern Green Mountains of Vermont, including The Clark Art Institute, Williams College Museum of Art , Williamstown Theatre Festival (20 minutes away); and MASS MoCA (25minutes away). Visit ArtCountry.org for more information on these five great cultural centers.

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